Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Jones turns in vintage performance

Wales boss Warren Gatland likened fly-half Stephen Jones to "a good red wine" after he guided his team to victory over Argentina.

While wing Shane Williams lit up the contest with two tries in a record 33-16 win, Jones' tactical assurance built a solid platform for victory. The 31-year-old Scarlets number 10 contributed 17 points, including his first Wales try since the 2006 Six Nations rugby, as Wales ran out comfortable winners.

"Stephen is like a good red wine, he gets better with age," said Gatland. "We are pleased with that performance, it was a step up from the first couple of games (in the autumn). We played some good rugby, there were a lot of positives."

Williams has now scored 48 tries for Wales, while Jones claimed an opportunist effort, running 30 metres unopposed to Argentina's line after opting not to kick for goal from a penalty and catching out the Pumas' defence.

Wing Leigh Halfpenny chipped in with two penalties while centre Martin Rodriguez scored all of Argentina's points, including a try.

Gatland added: "We still feel there is another level in us and it is about improving game by game, week on week.

"The next step is try to get our percentage of wins up to 75%, but we are pleased with the progress we are making. It's about putting pressure on ourselves.

"We went out there today and played some really good rugby hospitality."

Gatland also had words of praise for current world player of the year Williams, who scored his first tries at the Millennium Stadium since November last year.

"Shane is such a talented rugby player," said Gatland. "It's great if you have got two, three or four players in your team with the x-factor, and we are lucky to have some of those."

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